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Tashilumpo Monastery

The Tashilumpo (Tashilhunpo) Monastery, literally known as "Auspicious Sumeru Temple", is the largest temple in the town of Shigatse. It is the traditional seat of successive Panchen Lamas, and the second highest ranking tulku lineage in the Gelug (Gelugpa) Tibetan Buddhism hierarchy after Dalai Lama. Therefore lots of pilgrims travel to the Tashilumpo Monastery for a pilgrimage journey.

Tashilumpo Monastery is situated on the southern slope of the Nyima Hill to the west of Shigatse. It was founded in 1477 by Gendun Drubpain, the first Dalai Lama and a most outstanding disciple of Tsong Khapa. The Tashilumpo Monastery occupies an area of 150,000 square meters, surrounded by more than 3km long walls perching along the topography of the Nyima Mountain and enclosing 57 buildings which amounts to over 3600 rooms in the monastery.

One distinct feature of the monastery is the Maitreya Temple. It's located on the western part of the monastery. The Ninth Panchen Lama ordered its construction in to accommodate the 86 foot statue of the Maitreya Buddha that contains 614 lbs of gold, 330,000 lbs of copper. The statue of Maitreya there is the largest one in the world.

The best time to travel to the Tashilumpo Monastery is during the festivals when the monastery puts on a colorful and energetic dress that promotes the rich Tibetan history, culture, and religion.

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